The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Joe Healy, has moved to clarify the IFA’s position on the 30-month age rule and other criteria applied by factories for farmers to receive a 12c/kg ‘in-spec’ bonus payment.

Healy has said: “There is no longer any veterinary basis for the rule. However, some countries and some UK retailers continue to have it as a requirement.

If we want to supply their markets, we have to meet their specifications.

An article recently published on AgriLand clarified that the 30-month rule has its origins in the BSE crisis.

Continuing, Healy said: “The IFA’s position has always been that all prime cattle from quality assured herds should receive a QA bonus.”

Healy noted that the IFA put this position to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, and the factories at the beef talks.

Other criteria applied by factories to qualify for the 12c/kg ‘in spec’ bonus payment include:
  • Animals under 30 months-of-age;
  • Maximum four farm residencies;
  • 70-day residency prior to slaughter;
  • Grades of O= or better, and between 2+ and 4= fat score.

As part of the original agreement in Backweston on August 21, it was agreed that an “in-depth” review of market and customer criteria in relation to the four in-spec bonus criteria will be carried out.

According to the IFA, if the review shows that these specifications are not justified, then they should be removed.

Misleading information

Concluding, the IFA president said: “Throughout this beef crisis, farmers have been fed a huge amount of false and misleading information.

“This has raised completely unrealistic expectations. There has been a lot of talk about ‘leadership’ during this crisis. Leadership is about more than just telling people what they want to hear.”